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A management framework for enhancing asset management decisions in service-oriented business models

Asier Erguido


  • DIRECTORS: Profesor Adolfo Crespo Márquez y Dr. Eduardo Castellano Fernández
  • UNIVERSITY: Universidad de Sevilla


Shifting from product-oriented to service-oriented business models is critical for manufacturers aiming at moving up the value chain. As a consequence, business models based on the concept of product-service systems, where both product and services are a single offer, have drawn attention of both researchers and practitioners. On these business models, customers effectively purchase the service of products for a defined use period, whilst the ownership of the product remains at manufacturers' side, who have to assume the responsibility of managing such products as their own assets.

This responsibility entails dealing with several technical challenges which are the source of many barriers that hinder the actual adoption of product-service systems. To this respect, asset management research area presents itself as strategic to face such challenges, especially when it is focused on facilitating decisions concerning the assets in order to enhance their technical and business performance. In this context, the present thesis provides theoretical and practical insights regarding the exploitation of asset management capabilities in the context of servitization, making three major contributions.

The main contribution of the thesis is the proposed management framework, which comprehensively considers the different researches and developments performed along it. This management framework formalizes the steps to be adopted by manufacturers in order to optimize their asset management decisions in service-oriented business models, helping manufacturers overcome aforementioned technical challenges and barriers. To this aim, the management framework includes solutions such as data analysis tools, for making decisions based on the reliability of the assets; simulation-based optimisation mechanisms, for making optimal asset management decisions within the boundaries of the product-service system selected; and statistical analyses, for making decisions adopting a cost-risk-benefit approach.

Secondly, being maintenance management a key process to be considered within asset management and a pivotal instrument for optimising assets' exploitation, a novel dynamic opportunistic maintenance optimisation modeling approach is presented. This maintenance strategy ensures that maintenance and organizational strategies are aligned, further enhancing their technical and business performance. In particular, the proposed opportunistic maintenance strategy is based on dynamic reliability thresholds and it allows considering and taking advantage of short-term information in order to trigger maintenance activities at more favourable business contexts.

Finally, seeking to mitigate and manage the significant risks absorbed by manufacturers when they turn to an offer based on product-service systems, the thesis proposes a structured risk-based decision-making approach. To this aim, the framework for assessing the uncertainty in industrial practices proposed by De Rocquigny et al. is adopted and particularised for the after-sales services design. Likewise, a specific cost-risk-benefit mechanism which quantifies the uncertainty propagation until the quantities of interest has been developed. This contribution enhances the capabilities of the management framework when facilitating risk-based decisions, further ensuring the success of made decisions with a certain confidence level.

The contributions proposed in the thesis have been proven useful and valuable in their application to the railway and wind energy industries; therefore confirming their suitability. Within these applications some of the most challenging decisions to be made in the context of servitization and asset management are analyzed and discussed, such as contracts' pricing, maintenance strategy definition, uncertainty assessment or investment analysis. These results, as well as the managerial insights provided, demonstrate the usefulness of the contributions for supporting service-oriented business models decisions, despite the diverse nature that such decisions might have; therefore helping manufacturers move up the value chain.

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